The Coast Guard hearing about closing Camden and Glynn waters for rocket launches was illuminating.

The hearing was about establishing safety zones that will be enforced with heavy fines or arrest. Why is this necessary? Because getting every single boat off the water from Jekyll’s beaches to Plum Orchard and for a dozen miles offshore is necessary precisely because rockets occasionally explode into thousands of lethal pieces raining debris in the “safety zone.” It’s just that it has previously happened over the ocean where the risks are minimal.

Camden’s hired PR guy was conducting damage-control when he misrepresented Mr. Lang’s chart. I know because I provided the research for the chart. The debris diagram is from a document by Steven Millard, an aerospace engineer for the FAA. The SpaceX launch studied was from a Pacific Island where, “… only 10 mission essential personnel will be on any island within the impact contours and that these people will be in sheltered bunkers.” The only permanent civilian population was 254 miles downrange. That’s hardly the case for Spaceport Camden.

Local press is mysteriously silent about the rocket debris recently found on Cumberland Island. Why the secret? One piece required a front-end loader to remove it from the beach. Yes, rockets explode. Calculations show that only two teaspoon-sized pieces of debris falling from 30,000 feet will exceed the legal risk if only 5 people are on Little Cumberland, or on boats in St. Andrews Sound. Camden officials continue to mislead.

Steve Weinkle

Woodbine

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